10 Tips For Personal Fitness Routine Success

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 - 9:41am

By Michele Silence, MA

You’re determined to get fit. You start first thing in the morning. A few days go by and you’re not so enthusiastic. After a month or two the excitement you first felt has turned to dread. You know all the reasons why you need to workout. What happened? Why can’t you seem to stay motivated?

If you’ve abandoned your fitness routine don’t feel alone. The fact is most people fail many times before finding the program that will work for them over time. Often the program is doomed before it even has a chance.

Take the workout quiz

Have you been sabotaging your workout efforts? Answer “True” or “False” to the following questions:

_____ I consider the workout something I have to do, certainly not fun.

_____ I do my routine whenever I can fit it into my schedule.

_____ I always exercise alone.

_____ I weigh myself daily.

_____ I’d rather do too much than too little.

_____ I try to keep up with or compare myself to others.

_____ If I get out of breath, I stop.

_____ If I miss one workout it’s easy to miss another.

_____ I think about whether or not I’m going to exercise before I get started.

_____ I’m not sure what I’m doing or how to really reach my goals.

If you answered "true" to any of the above, you’re setting the stage for failing. Instead, work on reversing all the above trends.

Keys to fitness success

Keep these tips in mind and put together your own, new, personalized fitness plan. Your chance for success is much more likely and you’ll have a lot more fun along the way. There’s a new you waiting to experience success. Goal for it!

1.   Do activities you like

First, find an activity that you truly feel is fun (or at least most bearable). It doesn’t matter if it’s country line dancing, aerobic classes, or running.

2.   Integrate fitness into your schedule

Make a set schedule so that you automatically know it’s the time and day for your workout. By leaving this to chance, it’s easy to put it off and say “I’ll do it later.” Later either never comes or is interrupted by life.

3.   Use the buddy system for motivation and support

Find a workout buddy to exercise with you. On days you don’t feel like working out, your buddy will help motivate you. And, on days your buddy is down, you’ll repay the favor.

4.   Stay off the weighing scales!

Weighing in everyday can be discouraging. Especially since fat usually drops or increases all at once after several days. Stay off the scale except to monitor weekly progress. Better yet, avoid the scale and use body-fat tests every three months.

5.   Start off slowly on your workout program

Doing too much too soon only leads to sore muscles and an unwillingness to do the same routine again. When you do too much your muscles will have a hard time performing the next time. If your workout is making you sore, you’re doing more than you should. Back off and cover less distance, workout for a shorter time, or use less weight. Gradually add more over time.

6.   Remember: You’re unique

Everyone is different. Comparing yourself to others is a dangerous pitfall. Stress follows and before you know it you may feel discouraged, hopeless, and depressed when in fact you may be doing great. Nothing is more important than where you are at now. Improving and challenging yourself from your starting point is vital to long-term improvement.

7.   Don’t work too hard - go at your own pace

During any strenuous exercise it’s important to work at your own pace. That means at a level at which you can still breathe and talk. When you get out of breath it’s a signal you’re working too hard. Instead of stopping, reduce the intensity to an amount that’s more comfortable. You’ll find yourself able to exercise for a longer period of time and enjoy it more.

8.   Reschedule missed workouts

One workout leads to another but a missed workout shouldn’t lead to another. Things in life happen that interrupt those with even the best intentions. If a workout gets the nix, schedule in a replacement as soon as possible. If that’s not feasible forget it. Do a little extra next time and let it go. It’s not the workouts you miss that count, it’s the ones you complete.

9.   Make fitness a habit

Avoid a mental duel each time you get ready to exercise. Considering your routine as an option – should I or shouldn’t I – is treacherous. You wouldn’t consider brushing your teeth as an option, or taking a bath. Working out needs to be thought of as just another habit. Something you do without thinking or talking yourself in/out of.

10.   Have a plan of what you want to achieve from your workout

Regardless of whether you want to lose weight, tone up, or just get healthy, you need to have a plan. One that is effective. If you aren’t sure how to achieve your goals get a personal trainer. Even if it’s just to set up a suitable program, it’s well worth the money. The last thing you want is to expend all the energy and time into a routine that isn’t effective.